This list of 70 verbs is taken from the questionnaire for the Leipzig Valency Classes Project. Quoted from the questionnaire:

This sample of 70 verbs, which was in part selected on the basis of the feedback from the contributors, is hoped to be representative of the verbal lexicon. It is in particular these verb meanings that have been reported to show distinctive grammatical behaviour in the literature. …

Note that the meaning definition is given by the role frame … not by the meaning label (COVER, FILL, etc.). The latter is only a label that serves as a heading for the record. The meaning thus includes information about semantic roles, for which the role frame is crucial (e.g. the meaning intended by WASH is 'A washes P', not 'A washes'). …

In our terminology, the valency of a verb is the list of its arguments with their coding properties (coding frame), their behavioural properties (syntactic‐ function frame), and with the relationship of the arguments to the roles in the verb's role frame.  

Coding properties involve the following techniques (Haspelmath 2005; Malchukov, Haspelmath & Comrie 2010):

  • flagging (case or adposition marking)
  • indexing (agreement, cross‐referencing)
  • word order (in the absence of other kinds of marking)

Behavioural properties concern the behaviour with respect to patterns like reflexivization, passivization, causativization, argument omission, and various cross‐clausal constructions such as control, switch‐reference, raising and coordination. As a verb's valency consists of both the coding properties and the behavioural properties of its arguments, all these are in principle relevant to valency

The Verb List

The following abbreviations are used for the role frames:

  • V: verb
  • S: subject
  • A: agent
  • P: patient
  • E: experiencer
  • R: receiver
  • L: location
  • I: instrument
meaning label role frame typical context
rain (it) rains It rained yesterday.
be dry S is dry The ground is dry.
burn S burns The house is burning.
sink S sinks The boat sank.
roll A rolls The ball is rolling.
be a hunter S is a hunter This man is a hunter.
be hungry E is hungry The baby is hungry.
be sad E is sad The little girl was sad.
die S dies The snake died.
feel cold S is cold I’m cold.
feel pain E feels pain in M My arm is hurting. = I’m feeling pain in my arm.
scream S screams The man screamed.
laugh S laughs The little girl laughed.
play S plays The child is playing.
live S lives somewhere (L) The old people live in town.
leave A left L The boy left the village.
go S goes somewhere (L) The woman went to the market.
sing S sings The boy sang (a song).
jump A jumps The girl jumped.
sit down S sits down (somewhere (L)) The children sat down on the bench.
sit S sits somewhere (L) The children sat on the floor.
run A runs The horse is running.
climb A climbs (up (L)) The men climbed (up) the tree.
cough S coughs The old man coughed.
blink S blinks I blinked (my eyes).
shave A shaves (his beard/hair) The man shaved his beard/cut his hair
dress A dresses P The mother dressed her daughter
wash A washes P The mother washed the baby.
eat A eats P The boy ate the fruit.
help A helps X I helped the boys.
follow A follows X The boys followed the girls.
meet A meets X The men met the boys.
hug A hugs P The mother hugged her little boy.
search for A searches for X The men searched for the women.
think A thinks about X The girl thought about her grandmother yesterday.
know A knows P The girl knew the boy.
like E likes M The boy liked his new toy.
fear E fears M The man feared the bear.
frighten A frightens P The bear frightened the man.3
smell E smells M The bear smelled the boy.
look at A looks at P The boy looked at the girl.
see E sees M The man saw the bear.
talk A talks (to X) (about Y) The girl talked to the boy about her dog.
ask for A asks (X) for Y The boy asked his parents for money.
shout at A shouts at X The woman shouted at the children.
tell A tells (X) Y The girl told the boy a funny story.
say A says "..." (to X) They said “no” to me.
name A name X (a) Y The parents called the baby Anna.  
build A builds P (out of X) The men built a house out of wood.
break A breaks P (with I) The boy broke the window with a stone.
kill A kills P (with I) The man killed his enemy with a club.
beat A beats P (with I) The boy beat the snake with a stick.
hit A hits P (with I) The boy hit the snake with a stick.
touch A touches P (with I) The boy touched the snake with a stick.
cut A cuts P (with I) The woman cut the bread with a sharp knife.
take A tkaes P (from X) The man took the money from his friend.
tear A tears P (from X) The girl tore the page from the book.
peel A peels (X off) P The boy peeled the bark off the stick.
hide A hides T (from X) The boy hid the frog from his mother.
show A shows T (to R) The girls showed pictures to the teacher.
give A gives T to R We gave the books to the children.
send A sends T (to X) The girl sent flowers to her grandmother.
carry A carries T (to X) The men carried the boxes to the market.
throw A throws T somewhere (L) The boy threw the ball into the window.
tie A ties P (to L) (with I) The man tied the horse with a rope to the tree.
put A puts T somewhere (L) I put the cup onto the table.
pour A pours T somewhere (L) The man poured water into the glass.
cover A covers P (with X) The woman covered the boy with a blanket.
fill A fills P (with X) The girl filled the glass with water.
load A loads T (onto L) The farmer loaded hay onto the truck. = The farmer loaded the truck with hay